Rebels stumble down stretch, fall to Gamecocks 79-64

Posted on Feb 20 2019 - 5:50am by Flint Christian

Ole Miss men’s basketball lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks 79-64 on Tuesday night in Columbia, South Carolina, putting the Rebels at 18-8 (8-5) on the year with five games left in the regular season.

The Rebels began the game on a 13-2 run before the Gamecocks responded with a 16-0 run of their own. After staring down 40-32 halftime deficit, Ole Miss slowly and surely chipped away at the distance before tying the game at 61-61 with 6:15 to play thanks to a string of critical jumpers from Blake Hinson and Breein Tyree.

South Carolina went on a 14-2 run in the next 3:27 to put the game away for good, with Hassani Gravett hitting a dagger three-pointer to put the Gamecocks up 75-63 with just under three minutes to play.

Ole Miss dropped to 8-5 in conference play and is fifth in conference standings after the loss. South Carolina moved to 14-12 overall and 9-4 in the conference, now holding sole possession of fourth place in the SEC standings — a position the teams were tied for before their matchup last night.

Ole Miss struggled from deep throughout the game, making just 5-of-23 shots from beyond the arc while South Carolina knocked down 9-of-19 three-pointers.

Ole Miss struggled down the stretch, not scoring a field goal in the final six minutes of the game. Ole Miss’s only points came from the line, courtesy of Tyree and Dominik Olejniczak.

The Rebels were led by Terence Davis and Tyree with 18 and 17 points, respectively. K.J. Buffen led the team with eight rebounds while shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from the field.

Devontae Shuler had a cold night in his return to his home state, as he only put up six points on seven shots from the field. Shuler did, however, contribute seven rebounds and high energy on the defensive end.

South Carolina forward Chris Silva led the Gamecocks with 18 points and three blocks, as he began to outmatch the Ole Miss big men to lead the Gamecocks’ late-second-half run. The Ole Miss big men struggled with fouls all game, as Olejniczak fouled out and Bruce Stevens and Hinson each had four fouls.

Freshman guard A.J. Lawson played a crucial role throughout the game for South Carolina, putting up 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals. South Carolina guard Hassani Gravett also dropped in 15 points and four three-pointers off the bench.

South Carolina played patiently in the face of Kermit Davis’s zone defense, which the Rebels have relied on throughout the year to create turnovers and offense. Ole Miss was on the wrong side of its normally positive turnover margin. South Carolina forced nine steals to the Rebels’ three, although the overall turnover margin was only -1 for the Rebels.

The Rebels will look to continue building their resume for the NCAA Tournament selection committee when they play Georgia on Saturday at The Pavilion.